We seek to ultimately understand 3 basic questions: (1) Do early-life seizures (ELS) trigger intellectual disability (ID) with an autistic phenotype? (2) What signaling programs triggered by ELS potentially underlie this phenotype? (3) What are the rational, long-term pharmacological treatments to improve the abnormalities in synaptic plasticity and the in vivo phenotype? Our preliminary studies provide electrophysiological, pharmacological and biochemical evidence to suggest that ELS induces a chronic phenotype similar to other genetic forms of ID and autism such as Fragile X (FRAX) with FMRP dysfunction and Tuberous Sclerosis (TSC) with mTOR dysfunction. We propose three specific aims, utilizing electrophysiological, biochemical, immuno-cytochemistry and behavioral studies. Studies will use adult rats following a single kainate-induced ELS at post-natal day (P) 7. These studies will further investigate the mechanisms underlying altered mGluR-LTD measured electrophysiologically and test the hypothesis that ELS leads to a phenotype similar to other genetic forms of autism. Comparisons will be made to age-matched saline injected controls.
Specific Aim 1 : Determine the mechanisms underlying enhanced mGluR-dependent LTD observed following ELS. This will test the hypothesis that mGluR-dependent LTD is altered following ELS similar to that mediated by genetically disrupted FMRP expression and can be modified pharmacologically in a similar fashion.
Specific Aim 2 : Characterize the signaling pathways associated with S6 kinase (SK1) hyperactivation following ELS. This will test the hypothesis that signaling pathways are altered following ELS in a similar fashion to that mediated by disrupted FMRP expression and hyperactive mTOR, as in FRAX and TSC, respectively.
Specific Aim 3 : Further characterize the behavioral and electrographic in vivo phenotype following ELS. This will test the hypothesis that behavioral modalities beyond abnormal fear conditioning are induced by ELS that are consistent with an autism-like phenotype. By determining the pharmacological modulators of enhanced LTD following ELS, we will determine if this alteration in plasticity shares key features with that associated with FRAX and TSC. The pharmacological interventions advanced in FRAX and TSC are mirrored by our studies proposed here. Our studies will inform whether other forms of ID and autism potentially may share their pharmacological sensitivity and determine other potential therapeutic targets. These studies will advance the novel hypothesis that FMRP dysfunction can be seen in ID and/or autism outside of FRAX. This could impact treatment strategies for all causes of ID and/or autism. Our findings will support our hypothesis that seizures, as an external environmental factor, directly influence the development of ID and/or an autistic phenotype. These hypotheses cannot be tested in a straightforward fashion in patients. The use of our novel animal model of ELS triggering ID with an autistic phenotype allows these elusive clinical questions to be addressed more directly.

Public Health Relevance

We seek to ultimately understand 3 basic questions: (1) Do early-life seizures (ELS) trigger intellectual disability (ID) with an autistic phenotype? (2) What signaling programs triggered by ELS potentially underlie this phenotype? (3) What are the rational, long-term pharmacological treatments to improve the abnormalities in synaptic plasticity and the in vivo phenotype? By determining the pharmacological modulators of enhanced LTD following ELS, we will determine if this alteration in plasticity shares key features with that associated with FRAX and TSC. The pharmacological interventions advanced in FRAX and TSC are mirrored by our studies proposed here. Our studies will inform whether other forms of ID and autism potentially may share their pharmacological sensitivity and determine other potential therapeutic targets. These studies will advance the novel hypothesis that FMRP dysfunction can be seen in ID and/or autism outside of FRAX. This could impact treatment strategies for all causes of ID and/or autism. Our findings will support our hypothesis that seizures, as an external environmental factor, directly influence the development of ID and/or an autistic phenotype. These hypotheses cannot be tested in a straightforward fashion in patients. The use of our novel animal model of ELS triggering ID with an autistic phenotype allows these elusive clinical questions to be addressed more directly.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01NS076577-03
Application #
8533043
Study Section
Developmental Brain Disorders Study Section (DBD)
Program Officer
Mamounas, Laura
Project Start
2011-09-01
Project End
2016-08-31
Budget Start
2013-09-01
Budget End
2014-08-31
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$313,576
Indirect Cost
$102,482
Name
University of Colorado Denver
Department
Pediatrics
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
041096314
City
Aurora
State
CO
Country
United States
Zip Code
80045